Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2. Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3 Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5. Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6. Slate Drakes - hatching
7. Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8. Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish
The Learning Process - Part 27 - Prime Seasons
During the last month, we have received email from over twenty people
complimenting and/or asking for more of the series we call "The Learning Process".
I'm not sure I know where I left off, but I will try to continue with it using our video
logs and daily notes in our journals.
One of the things we noticed was that the particular stream we were fishing had it
hot month or two of fishing when the stream was crowded. Before and after that hot
fishing period, the number of anglers dropped off considerably. I feel sure every
local fly shop in the nation can verify that.
Even in places like the little town of West Yellowstone, Montana, where there are at
least four fly shops within walking distance, it seems most all of their business is
conducted within a couple of months. Of course the entire fly season in Yellowstone
National Park only last about five months because the entire area is at a high
elevation. Most of the anglers show up during the month of July trying to catch the
Salmonfly hatch. The results is that most anglers are either disappointed with the
fact they missed timed the hatch or they fished right in the middle of it and couldn't
catch the huge trout on the surface they thought they could. They learned the trout
became gorged on the big Salmonfly nymphs.
Although it has changed within the last ten years, everyone headed to the Henry's
Fork, not far from West Yellowstone, showed up for the famous Western Green
Drake Hatch. Most of them either missed the hatch or found out the hatch barely
existed. It was so bad one year the local guides were saying the Green Drake Hatch
was great because you could catch plenty of trout on a elk hair caddis.
In Michigan, everything seemed to be timed around the Hex Hatch (Great Olive
Winged Drake) or the big Michigan Caddis some call them. During the time these
big mayflies are hatching, the number of trout caught per angler is usually no more
than it is most any other time during the summer. Many anglers show up for it not
even realizing it is mostly night fishing.
On Penn's Creek in Central Pennsylvania, it seems ninety percent of the anglers try
to catch the huge Eastern Green Drake hatch. The stream is jammed packed with
anglers for two weeks and then they all disappear. We meet several anglers that
had traveled there not knowing the best fishing occurred well after dark.
I could go on and on with the Fall Caddis in Northern California and Oregon, the
White Flies on the Yellow Breeches in Pennsylvania, etc, etc.
Right here in the Smoky Mountains it seems most of the stream traffic occurs in
March, April and May. Many try to time their trip to catch the Quill Gordon hatch. By
the end of June, you will have to search to find many anglers. At least the "hot"
period last two or three months.
In each and every scenario I mentioned above, much of the better trout fishing
occurs during other times of the year. Maybe the fishing isn't any better but there
are many other times it is just as good. Best of all, the streams are not crowded. For
example, let me go back to Yellowstone. The fishing is great the entire month of
September and with the exception of a few bad weather days, October is even
The Henry's Fork fishes better in several locations along its length during the
months of June, July, August and September than it does at the Ranch during the
fathom Green Drake hatch. The streams in Michigan, including the Au Sable, fish
just as well during the entire Summer and early Autumn as they do during the Hex
hatch. Penns Creek fishes great during the entire Pennsylvania fishing season, yet
you will see only a few anglers here and there other than during the Green Drake
hatch. The streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park fish just as well from
the middle of September to the middle of November as they do in April.
I think the magazines are mostly responsible for this. For example, one year there
was a feature article about the Flav hatch at the Ranch on the Henry's Fork. The
word was spreading that the Green Drake hatch was not what it was made out to
be, so Fly Fisherman tried to help out with a feature article about the Small Western
Green Drakes called Flavs. The river became crowded with anglers during the
middle of July. Angie and I were two of them. I'm not sure most of the guys would
know a Flav if they saw one, but no one caught more than a fish or two in two or
three days of fishing. We caught a dozen big rainbows in two days of fishing - on
grass hopper imitations walking the banks. I saw about a dozen Flavs those two
We fished the Eastern Green Drake hatch on Penns Creek for four years in a row.
Except for the first year of education, we managed to catch twenty to thirty trout per
day during the day on March Brown and Sulphur imitations. At night, we picked up
the usually one or two brown trout. Many anglers we talked to there fishing all night
and sleeping during the day didn't catch the first trout.
I think you see where I am going with this. The magazines were very good at
sending anglers on wild goose chases. It brought them additional revenue from the
local outfitters, fly shops, fishing resorts, etc, every time. In fact, many of the articles
were written after getting commitments for ads from the local businesses. Notice I
said the magazines were good at sending anglers on wild goose chases and I used
the word "were" to imply they are far less successful in doing that this day in time. In
fact, they are lucky to be in business this day and time. They are trying their best to
convert to website articles but even if they are successful, I doubt anyone is going
to go on many wild goose chases. There are far to many other websites about fly
fishing as well as a huge number of blogs on the sport that provide far more